Our Favorite Read Aloud Books

At Gold Arrow Camp, the tradition of reading to campers every night holds a special place in the daily routine. After roasting marshmallows around the campfire and getting ready for bed, counselors read a book aloud to their campers. Even our oldest campers enjoy this nightly practice! 

Reading builds empathy, and is a powerful tool for helping campers develop kindness and compassion towards one another. Reading ignites camaraderie and conversation as campers think and talk about the situations and challenges the characters face. Many campers share with us that listening to a story in their sleeping bags is one of their favorite parts of the day. 

Five Tips for Choosing a Great Read Aloud Book at Home

  1. Start a series! Many counselors choose to read the first book in a series to their campers. While some of the books are larger (and cabin groups are not always able to finish the book), many campers report that they’re going to read the rest of the book when they get home, or read the next book in the series. A series offers continuity and an opportunity for campers to invest in the characters, setting, and plot. If you are trying to encourage more reading at home, one strategy is to start reading a series together. A child might choose to finish reading the series on their own. When I was little, my mom read the first three Harry Potter Books to me aloud. After reading three books together, I read the final four installments independently as they were released. Starting the series together helped me invest in the characters and made me excited for the new releases!
  2. Use online resources to find books that align with your child’s interests. Goodreads and Common Sense Media both offer reviews and ratings for children’s books. Goodreads also provides a fun way to start a “Reading Challenge” and set a reading goal for the year. At Gold Arrow Camp, we use Common Sense Media to guide counselors towards the perfect age-appropriate books.
  3. Visit your local library or bookstore, and involve your child in the selection process to foster ownership!
  4. Choose a book that has been made into a movie, and plan a family movie night when you finish reading the book. This is a great way to engage in discussions about a story, and talk about changes made from the book to the movie version.
  5. If your child is older and wants to read independently, find a time to read together as a family, or start a family book club and read the same book at the same time. In Michelle Borba’s book Unselfie, Borba recommends looking at your child’s required reading list for school and picking up an additional copy for yourself!

Our 2023 Counselors’ Favorite Read Aloud Books

Bears (Grades K-2)

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Beezus & Ramona by Beverly Cleary 
  • Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Tigers (Grades 3-5)

  • The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1 by Lemony Snicket
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Magic Treehouse series
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Holes by Louis Sachar

Lions (Grades 6-8)

  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Eagles (Grades 9-10)

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Posted in:
By: Gretchen "Gem" Ruch